“I work at Common Justice because I know to address the impact of violence and harm on communities that we must have both conversations at the table – the harmed and responsible party. We hold and model this value throughout the organization."
"I work at Common Justice because I believe the problem of mass incarceration needs to be met with high standards of humanity, compassion, and concern." -- Chelsea Kirk
"I work at Common Justice because I believe the struggle for human justice is rooted in strong feelings of Love as well as in the Power of Responsibility." -- Steven Mangual
"I work at Common Justice because I believe empathy is the most powerful weapon one can use to counter violence." -- Tia Elliott
Ana has worked closely with social service organizations to design and implement programs tailored to the needs of marginalized populations. Prior to joining Common Justice, Ana provided support [because this was a start-up my role shifted back and forth] to the ACS Workforce Institute, a training program for New York City child welfare workers. On her spare time, Ana volunteers as a self-defense instructor with the Center for Anti-Violence Education, a Brooklyn-based violent prevention program. Ana brings to Common Justice a passion for helping others, a dedication healing and social justice, and a great sense of humor.
"I work at Common Justice because I’m committed to fighting violence through compassion, empathy, and healing."
Andre Ward is a long-time advocate for the people most affected by violence and the criminal justice system. He teaches Social Work as an adjunct professor at Medgar Evers College. Andre is a senior fellow with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, a senior fellow of the National Trust for the Development of Men, and a board member of The Center for Psychotherapy at Family Renaissance. Prior to joining Common Justice’s team, he served as the Director of Workforce Development at the Osborne Association. A published author and speaker, Andre is also co-host and associate producer for On the Count: The Criminal and Prison Justice Report on WBAI. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Medgar Evers College and a Master of Social Work from Lehman College.
" I work at Common Justice because of its ability to create healing, foster accountability and engage in criminal justice and systemic reform!"
Aseante Renee is a communications strategist with 12+ years of experience in facilitation, curriculum design, and culturally inclusive community engagement work across the nation. She uses her expertise to create strategic opportunity for sustainable progress. Prior to joining Common Justice, Aseante was a policy advisor with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice where she led the operationalizing of reconciliation work between communities of color and local law enforcement in six pilot cities. She earned her BA in Marketing from Hampton University and her MSW from The University of Texas at Austin.
"I work at Common Justice because I know the best responses to violence will be envisioned and led by the people who survived it."
Chief of Staff
Bridgette rejoined Common Justice as the Chief of Staff. She has extensive experience working on behalf of young people impacted by violence. Prior to rejoining Common Justice, Bridgette was the Deputy Director at the Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI), where she was responsible for overseeing operations and programming. During her tenure, she secured additional funding and a new partnership with Open Society Foundation to increase CJI’s grantmaking to include and focus on sex-workers’ rights, harm-reduction initiatives, pre-arrest and pre-booking diversion programming as part of the CJI’s funding priorities.
Before CJI, Bridgette previously served at Common Justice as the National Survivor Specialist. During this time, Bridgette led a collaborative effort to support grassroots organizations in building their organizational and advocacy capacity to shift federal funding to underserved organizations, which led to over 3.8 million dollars being awarded to grassroots organizations and 1 million dollars for city government-based initiatives for underserved populations. As well, she also supported the development of Common Justice’s learning collaborative, HealingWorks. Earlier in her career, Bridgette worked at the W. Haywood Burns Institute as a Site Manager, where she provided technical assistance to jurisdictions around the country on addressing racial and ethnic disparities within the youth justice system.
In her role, Bridgette conducted assessments, trained probation officers, judges, and law enforcement, and provided intensive site services to more than 200 stakeholders on improving life outcomes for youth of color. Before that, Bridgette worked at Parenting for Prevention and Catholic Charities providing counseling services for youth and their families. She also worked as a case manager for youth returning from secure confinement with the Youth Empowerment Project of Louisiana, as an education advocate at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, and as the Orleans Parish's JDAI Coordinator, where she facilitated a collaborative process with various stakeholders to reduce the number of youth detained in New Orleans and to create alternatives to secure detention.
Bridgette received her Bachelor’s and Master's Degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana.
“I work at Common Justice because I know to address the impact of violence and harm on communities that we must have both conversations at the table – the harmed and responsible party. At Common Justice, we hold and model this value throughout the organization.”
Chelsea Kirk is a Program Coordinator for HealingWorks. Prior to joining Common Justice, Chelsea worked on political campaigns and with community-based advocacy groups focused on tenants’ rights and housing justice in Los Angeles. Chelsea also participated in policy research to address and design solutions to the housing crisis and population displacement through the University of Southern California. In 2016, Chelsea volunteered on the Bernie 2016 campaign, attending the Democratic National Convention. Chelsea holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California.
"I work at Common Justice because I believe the problem of mass incarceration needs to be met with high standards of humanity, compassion, and concern."
Chris works as the harmed party case coordinator at Common Justice. Before joining Common Justice in 2016, Chris worked in restorative justice as a trained peacemaker in Red Hook Community Court's Peacemaking Program. He has participated in many circles and worked closely with young men of color who have experienced trauma. As case coordinator, he works with survivors of violence to help address their pain healthily and safely and to advocate for them in their healing processes.
"I work at Common Justice because I believe in the power of compassion, self-forgiveness and growth through accountability. In Common Justice, I can contribute to a positive and practical change."
Danielle Sered envisioned, launched, and directs Common Justice. Before planning the launch of Common Justice, Danielle served as the deputy director of Vera’s Adolescent Reentry Initiative, a program for young men returning from incarceration on Rikers Island. Prior to joining Vera, she worked at the Center for Court Innovation's Harlem Community Justice Center, where she led its programs for court-involved and recently incarcerated youth.
Danielle has designed and directed programs that teach conflict resolution through the arts in schools and juvenile detention centers, has had extensive involvement in gang intervention work, has developed and implemented violence intervention and trauma-informed care practices and curricula, and has experience with a variety of mediation, restorative justice, and conflict resolution techniques. Danielle sits on the Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims, the Advisory Council to the New York State Office of Victims Services, the Diversity Advisory Committee to the federal Office for Victims of Crime, the New York State Governor’s Council on Reentry and Community Reintegration, and the Advisory Board to the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. She is author of The Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in our Responses to Violence and of Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.
Danielle received the 67th Precinct Council Award for Service, given in recognition for leadership in reducing violence in Brooklyn, and the Brown Memorial Baptist Church Extraordinary Woman Award. Under her leadership, Common Justice received the Award for Innovation in Victim Services from Attorney General Holder and the federal Office for Victims of Crime in 2012. A Stoneleigh fellow, Danielle received her BA from Emory University and her masters degrees from New York University and Oxford University (UK), where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
"I work at Common Justice because I know we cannot just critique violence and mass incarceration. We have to--and we can-- build the practical, moral solutions that will displace them."
Donnell Penny joined Common Justice in March 2014 as an assistant coordinator and expanded his work to lead its MOVE (Men Opposing Violence Everywhere) groups and its engagement of program graduates before joining the team as a Case Coordinator. A Brooklyn native, Donnell has held a variety of positions in social services, including working as a youth counselor and a home health aide.
Donnell brings to the project a strong commitment to restorative justice, violence intervention, and advancing the well-being of his peers and his community. He is also a proud graduate of Common Justice.
Prior to joining Common Justice, Hyunhee served as Program Associate at the Just Beginnings Collaborative, supporting funder engagement, grantmaking, and capacity building on the issue of child sexual abuse. Hyunhee also served as Program Associate at the Ms. Foundation for Women, supporting grantmaking and capacity building initiatives in the area of ending gender-based violence. Hyunhee volunteers as a member of the Young Women's Advisory Council, an integral body of New York City's Young Women's Initiative. As a member of the Anti-Violence & Criminal Justice Working Group within the Young Women's Initiative, she advocates for improvements to systemic responses to violence as well as reducing the criminalization of survivors of violence.
Hyunhee received her B.A. in Philosophy and Russian Literature & Language from Barnard College.
Lauren Lipps is the outreach manager for Common Justice. She previously worked at Common Justice as a Masters in Social Work (MSW) intern. In this capacity she helped to develop HealingWorks.org, a national learning collaborative for practitioners who work with young men of color who have been harmed by violence and trauma.
Lauren started working with justice-involved youth over a decade ago. Her work has spanned from San Francisco to New York.
Lauren holds a B.A. in Sociology from The College of Wooster and a MSW from Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work.
Michael Rowe joined the Vera Institute of Justice in May 2015 as a case coordinator with Common Justice. In 2016, he was promoted to the position of HealingWorks Program Director. He began his social service career at Exodus Transitional Community as a contract coach. He also mentored youth, ages 16 to 24, in the ARCHES program. Previously, Michael worked as a community health advocate in the Coming Home Program at St. Luke’s Hospital. He has a keen desire to deter young people from committing violent crime and a commitment to serving crime victims. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies from Bard College and a Master of Professional Studies from the New York Theological Seminary.
"I work at Common Justice because I believe healing is the foundation of personal growth, productivity, and love."
Richard Smith has nearly two decades of experience developing and implementing community-based programs for disadvantaged populations. He has developed reentry programs for returning citizens at both the Center for Law and Justice and Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities TASC in Albany, New York. Richard has worked with high risk youth as both a case manager and program director in New York’s Capital District and the City of Boston.
Richard has taught criminal justice and history courses as an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Empire State College and Sage College and has guest lectured at numerous colleges and universities on issues such as racism, mass incarceration, and trauma and healing. He is presently a doctoral candidate at SUNY Albany’s School of Social Welfare. His research focus is male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Richard is currently the National Director of HealingWorks, a national learning collaborative for people working with young men of color who have been harmed by violence, and their communities. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University at Albany in Africana Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University in Sociology. He is the proud father of two sons, Kaden (4 years.) and Kaleb (5 years).
"I work at Common Justice because acts of fearless compassion are at the core of healing and social justice."
RJ Maccani has been active in movements addressing state, community, and interpersonal violence since the late ’90s. He brings nearly a decade of experience in transformative justice responses to violence as well as trauma-informed therapy and leadership development to his work with Common Justice. RJ is a lead teacher and practitioner with Generative Somatics, building the capacity of social and environmental justice leaders, organizations, and alliances to transform ourselves, our communities, and the world. As a co-founder of the Challenging Male Supremacy Project and leadership team member for generationFIVE, his transformative justice work has focused on addressing violence against women, queer and trans people, and children. RJ holds a Master of Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.
"I work at Common Justice because all human beings deserve the opportunity to grow, to heal, to make and receive amends."
Prior to joining Common Justice, Sergia provided social services for the New York State Early Intervention Program, where she advocated for families of children that have been identified as having a developmental delay from birth to the age of three. Sergia has been working in social services with youth and families for more than 18 years. She graduated from City College with a BA in international studies & black studies, and received an MS from The New School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy.
"Because Justice isn't a commodity, it is our right."
Senior Intervention Manager
Steven Mangual is a long-time Advocate and Activists in the fields of health, social and criminal justice. He has been part of the movement to raise awareness of the need to have the voices, narratives, and unique needs of the Latinx community infused in criminal justice reform. Steven has been part of the struggled for the release of Puerto Rican Political Prisoners, ending solitary confinement, and Parole Justice in NYS, among other things. He has been the Latino Affairs Producer / Communications Manager for “On The Count: The Prison and Criminal Justice Report” since November 2006. His passion has been HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis health education/advocacy as well as humanizing the criminal justice system from within the NYS Department of Corrections under Volunteer Services, during reentry and now in the Front-end. Steven Mangual holds an Associate’s in Applied Sciences Degree in Human Services from Bronx Community College and a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Social Work from Lehman College.
"I work at Common Justice because I believe the struggle for human justice is rooted in strong feelings of Love as well as in the Power of Responsibility."
Tia Elliott is the Program Coordinator for Common Justice and HealingWorks.org, a national learning collaborative for practitioners who work with young men of color who have been harmed by violence and trauma.
Tia previously worked at Common Justice as an intern through the prestigious John Jay Vera Fellows Program. Prior to joining Common Justice, Tia was a volunteer with the Prison-to-College-Pipeline (P2CP), a program that offers access to higher education, learning exchanges and reentry services for the incarcerated men of Otisville Correctional Facility. In addition to her work with Otisville Correctional Facility, Tia participated in the P2CP’s first international learning exchange in Drakenstein Correctional Centre and Pollsmoor Prison in January 2017.
Tia began her social justice work five years ago. Her work has spanned Cape Town, South Africa, Rabat, Morocco and New York.
Tia holds a B.A. in English from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
"I work at Common Justice because I believe empathy is the most powerful weapon one can use to counter violence."